A conference on education could bring together three out of the four major class struggle federations in the UK under one house this June, to discuss plans for organising across the UK.
This June looks likely to see a resurgence in organising for the education sector, with an anarchist networking meeting involving three federations and individuals from around the country.
An education meeting held at last year’s anarchist bookfair was one of the most successful of the day, with a surprisingly large response and an intention mooted to st up a full national meeting on the subject for this March.
Although the March gathering was not organised in time, it looks likely to happen in June, with Anarcho-syndicalists SolFed, Syndicalist union the IWW and the Anarchist Federation coming together nationally for the first time over one issue.
Freedom spoke to members of Solfed and the IWW over what they expected from the event. ‘Ftony’, from the IWW, said: “I think the IWW is keen to work with other groups and unattached left-libertarians, just because we recognise that none of us are particularly powerful and so if we club together we can make a bigger difference and have a bigger presence. The IWW is the biggest of the groups that are involved, but that doesn't make us able to go it entirely alone.
"I see the network as a good place from which we can mobilise for demos or pickets, get some anarchish agitprop out, and just generally keep each other informed with what we're up to and help each other out. There's no reason for us to fight over minute theoretical details when we've got so much more to fight against outside of our ghetto.
“Hopefully we can build for it better this time, with wider advertisement and clearer goals. I think it's nice to have a gathering of like-minded folks in the same industry, but I'd personally like to see it produce some good results that we can all go away and play with at our own workplaces.”
One SolFed member in their Education Workers’ Network (EWN) said: “The EWN discussed this at its recent conference, and will participate and help with the organising. We see the wider grouping as a useful discussion forum, but are not in favour of yet another anarchist education organisation emerging from it, not least because it would contain such a diversity of views within it as to make it unworkable.”
A member of the AF said: “Our aim is to improve communications between education workers, to improve solidarity and co-operation. We are not trying to set up a new organisation. We'd like people to be able to work on common issues. It seems ridiculous that we don't co-operate already. Our network is fairly embryonic still. Mostly occasional communications between each other. We will be discussing how it's going at the AF conference in April. It is not intended as a rival for others.”